Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tiana's Kitchen~NiYa Toast

I would like to start this post off by telling everybody that I am terrible at editing videos. Seriously. It took me 3 days to edit less than 15 minutes of footage! But I felt that this recipe would be more fun with a video!!

Remember the Mini Garden Meetup I blogged about after Mother's Day? And remember I said, "We were joking about how it was too sweet and decided we are going to invent our own version, but savory instead of sweet"

I actually did it :D I named it after NiYa, who joked about needing to drink soy sauce. NiYa Toast sounds a bit like Honey Toast (MiTang Toast). The subtitles are actually in Chinese, but I wanted to share my hard work! I am planning on getting an English version up too, but the video itself should actually be pretty self explanatory ;D


This is Seafood Flavored NiYa Toast! I plan on trying Curry next :D


Ingredients:
Uncut Toast
Basil
Garlic
Butter
Parmesan Cheese (or any white cheese)
Tri-color veggie mix
Seafood mix
Broccoli, Asparagus, etc. for decoration

Directions:
1) Chop garlic finely and mix with melted butter
2) Cut loaf of bread in half
3) Cut four sides of a square in the center of your half-loaf. Leave about 1cm border and base (don't cut through the bottom!)
4) Cut the bottom free from the side
5) Pull out the center and cut into long rectangles
6) Cover with garlic butter and toast lightly
7) Stir fry veggies and seafood mix in a pan. Season and thicken with cornstarch.
8) Chop basil, garlic, and cheese together to make handmade pesto
9) Place bread rectangles back into the hollow toast center
10) Top with seafood mix and a scoop of handmade pesto (to replace ice cream on Honey Toast)
11) Add small broccoli florets in place of whip and use asparagus in place of wafers
12) Transfer to a pretty plate and decorate the plate
13) You are done!

I think the video should explain everything OK, but if you have questions please feel free to ask in the comments below!
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Glass Slippers Are So Last Century

As summer approaches, Lolitas everywhere are starting to shed their cardigans and boleros in favor of chiffon blouses under thinner cotton jumperskirts, or no blouse at all! It's time to break out the parasols, straw hats, and sandals~

While some Lolitas may still insist it is improper to go blouse-less or sockless, I personally feel that avoiding heatstroke is the most important thing, especially if you live in a particularly hot or humid place.

Knee-socks are something I almost never go without, simply because my legs don't get too hot easily, and I don't have any Lolita sandals ;) Short ankle socks are a cute alternative to knee-highs if you prefer, but what I want to talk about is the new trend this summer: Glass Socks

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Image from Romantic Sweet

OK, they're not REALLY glass, but that is the direct translation of "玻璃襪" which is what they are called in Chinese. The point of these socks is that they are virtually clear with some sort of pattern on top. The look and feel very summery and cool (temperature-wise). I've seen them everywhere for sale, from market stalls to department stores. The average price seems to be NT$99/pair, but they are cheaper on Taobao.com!

The point of glass socks is their versatility. They look nice with sandals (socks with sandals? Oh my!) because they are sheer, and can be layered without looking too thick. Being that they're see-through, you can wear a solid-colored pair of thin socks underneath for a different look, or over colored tights. Even BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT has jumped on the glass socks trend.


Glass socks come in many different styles, with the most popular being polka-dotted ankle socks. I have also seen roses, faux lace-up (ballerina style), lace, and stripes.

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This example by BABY is an ankle-length with small dots and lace topper.
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Available in many colors!

What I love the most, however, is knee-high glass socks! They are much harder to find, but I think they would be a lovely addition to any Lolita's wardrobe! A cooler version of knee-high socks perfect for summer.

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These are by BABY!

If you are interested in purchasing some, you can try to get a group order for TaoBao socks :)
Here are some links that may be of interest:
Polka Dot Glass Socks 8.2-8.5RMB
Lace Stripe Glass Socks
Floral Glass Socks
Glass Socks with only design around the ankle
Classical Lolita Floral Glass Socks in more muted shades
Ribbon Lace Up Glass Socks

I hope to see more Lolita brands jump on the glass socks trend! I want to see more knee-high versions!!


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Friday, May 27, 2011

Pose! Full Body Photos~False Step

I almost forgot about the posing series I was doing! I decided to break up the numerical order by sticking some full body poses in between :) Since you are going to be wanting to show your whole outfit, having something to do with your legs in important too! Combine with any hand poses to add variety to your photos~


The first pose I'm going to introduce is what I call the False Step. It looks sort of like you're walking, except not :P

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Click to make the photo larger

This one is very simple. Just take a step forward from your normal standing position and freeze!

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Here is a side-angle photo, which also looks great!

Some tips to keep in mind:
*Don't let your legs be too far apart! Try to keep your knees together so you are stepping straight forward. Having a gap between your legs will look a bit awkward
*Keep your step small! Remember, you're just posing, not trying to catch the last train ;D

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This pose works in virtually any style, but does give a slight feeling of coy. It might look a bit out of place in a very regal and elegant outfit like Aristocratic style. For most other styles though, it is cute and a bit "street snap" feeling, which I really like!
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Niconico Japan Cool

Hello, all!
This is just a quick mini-post to share a video series I found about Japanese fashion/lifestyle. It covers Gothic, Lolita, Visual, and more...
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The videos load too slowly for my computer/Internet connection to comprehend (or perhaps I am impatient?) but here's the link so you can browse for yourself!
Watch Here!
Misako Aoki is a regular on the show with a live broadcast every Thursday. See if you can catch her show today! She is on from 21:00-22:00 Japan-time.

Let me know if the videos work for you :) Maybe it's just technical problems on me end (read: operator error. Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard)
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tiana's Kitchen~Swan Lake

A part of the lure of Lolita fashion is the attention to detail and bringing magic to everyday things. I especially like edible food art because it makes an everyday "blah" event into something more special!

Fancy events always seem to have beautifully presented food displays that look good, smell good, and taste good. I am no expert at food art, but something quick and simple that I CAN do, is make apple swans :) It's not too difficult! I just practiced a couple times and can make one fairly quickly now.

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Ingredients:
An apple
Lemon Juice (optional)

Click photos to expand

Directions:
1) Wash your apple. If you will not be eating or displaying it right away, prepare some lemon juice to prevent it from browning after being cut.
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2) Cut a thick slice of apple to the side of the core.
POINT! The thicker the slice is, the easier it will be to make the following slices
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3) Make a shallow, angled cut in the apple. Turn the apple around and repeat to make a small V-shaped incision shape.
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The piece should be removable now
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POINT! The shallower you make the cut, the more layers you will be able to make.

4) Repeat this procedure, making deeper and deeper cuts but don't cut through to the bottom.
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When you've made all your layers, you should be able to slide them into layers like so:
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5) For the wings, first make a cut parallel to the cutting board, then another cut parallel to the last V-shaped cut you made like this:
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6) Repeat on the other side
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7) One apple can make two swans, so cut another slice of apple and save the core piece. This will make your swan's head and neck!
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8) It is difficult to explain how to do the cuts, so I will let the picture show you. the black dot represents the eye of the swan :)
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Make sure you pull out the stem!

9) The head should be able to balance itself on the body. Adjust the angle of the base of the neck so your swan isn't leaning its head too far forward. That may make it fall over!
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POINT! If needed, you can cut an angle at the base of the neck to help it sit in the V of the body
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lolita 100 Meme #81-90

Previously I have been posting 10 question from the ever famous Lolita 100 Baton, but stopped because at the time I actually had probably less than 10 followers ^^;

Now that I have 70 (following on Google, anyway. Sometimes I follow blogs with RSS readers and I don't think that shows up under the Google follower count), I guess it would be good to let you all know a little more about me! You can read previous entries by clicking on the "Intro" tag. I'm sure I've changed since I started posting, so it will be quite interesting!


(81) 普段の服装の系統は?(How do you dress normally?)
uh... in lolita, I suppose! Sometimes I like to wear street fashion too though! Or kigurumi :3
Since moving to Taiwan I've been trying to fund both my Lolita wardrobe and my "Earthling" wardrobe. Totally off topic, but what do you guys call non-Lolita fashion? "Earthling" is a direct translation from Chinese "地球人" but sounds weird in English....
Sometimes "normie" clothes are necessary for work! It is quite expensive though :o

(82) 中古品に対する抵抗はありますか?(Do you think twice about buying second-hand clothes?)
Yes... I hesitate a little. I have only purchased one second-hand item, my "dream dress" that got me into Lolita fashion in the first place. It is BABY's Parfait print skirt in pink!

(83) 彼(or 夫)はいますか? また、理解はありますか? (Do you have a boyfriend? [or husband?] Does he understand Lolita?)
I don't have a significant other! But when I did date briefly, he never commented on it. Later, he did tell me that his friend thought I was a coser which seems to be the most common thought in Taiwan. It's OK though, they didn't judge me ^u^

(84) 理想の男性像を教えて下さい。(Please tell us your ideal man.)
Someone who will make me feel "When I am with him, I am at my happiest. When I am away from him, I am at my saddest." Even when the worst thing has happened, being with him will make me a little happier. Even when I am very happy, I will want to share it with him. I think this is what true love will feel like
(Hey, was that too cheesy for you all? I promise I won't do that very often!)

(85) 今まであった中で一番印象に残ってるロリィタさんはどんな人?(What Lolita has left a big, shiny impression on you so far?)
I'm guessing this question means who has left a great impression or influence ;D
Currently I am most inspired by real Lolitas I have met. Namely, Kay (kayz0rbeam on LiveJournal) has been my biggest inspiration recently. Also all the Lolitas here in the Taipei area are really good! They make me want to strive to be the best Lolita I can be! And as silly as it sounds, I was definitely inspired by Momoko in the beginning
When I first joined LiveJournal there were a few "efamous" Lolitas who were very active, and very beautiful! The ones that left an impression on me the most are:
Shibahime, Faunkegin, Maetel9, Deedlelu, Amanikitti, and Swdpunk

(86) 自分で服を作ったことがありますか? それはどんな服?(Have you made your own clothes? What are they like?)
Yes! I would like to think that they look good... ;D Check my deviantART to see some things I have made!

(87) 自分で小物を作ったことがありますか? 何を作りましたか?(Have you made your own accessories? What did you make?)
I have made an Alice bow, a wired bow (still experimental), purses, and a pair of earrings

(88) 今まででの自作アイテムでコレは大成功! というものはありますか?(The best item you have made! What is it?)
I would like to think that I improve with each project :)

(89) 理想のロリィタ服やコーディネートがあれば、語って下さい。(Please say your most perfect Lolita coordination you wear.)
I am not 100% satisfied with any coordinate yet, so none yet! I need to rebuild my wardrobe and add more to it!

(90) 憧れの方はいますか? どんな人ですか?(Do you admire someone? What are they like?)
In terms of Lolita, I admire:
Novala Takemoto because his writing is quite inspirational
Kay because she makes really intricate coordinates and is my style inspiration (I wish she'd post to daily_lolita so everybody could see them!)
Samm, Heather, and Megan because they are making a living creating beautiful things (Blashpemina's Closet, Scoundrelle's Keep, and Apatico)
The designers of BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT and Innocent World (and maybe Meta) because their clothing is (usually) timelessly elegant and beautiful. Meta pushes the line of fashion, which I think is great! BABY is my original and eternal love because they encompass all the cuteness and elegance Lolita should be without becoming too tacky (most of the time). Innocent World is classy and sweet without being as mature or matronly as other Classic Lolita brands.

Thanks for reading and following my blog! If you like you can fill out your answers to these 10 questions in the comments :) I'd love to get to know my followers better too! Even if you are not a Lolita, I want to hear what you have to say!


And feel free to post your answers to previous Lolita 100 Meme posts too ;) There are some great questions!
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The Incentive to Buy (Plus Giveaway!)

Companies often come up with crafty plans to make us consumers buy more. Apart from promotions and sales (percentage off or buy one get one percentage off), they also give us "free" things! And who doesn't like "free" things?

One of the most ingenious ways retailers have come up with to draw buyers in is the point system. Be it virtual or physical points on a card, it feels rewarding to fill up a card and exchange it for gifts! Very common in Asia, this practice has spread worldwide (proof that it works!!). Right before I moved to Taiwan, even Hot Topic had implemented a points system to reward shoppers!

How does the point system work? Each store is different, but basically for every X amount of dollars you spend, you get 1 point. When you reach N amount of points, you can get gifts, discounts, or exclusive merchandise not available elsewhere. I remember struggling to fill up my Sanrio point card and pooling purchases with friends to meet the dollar criteria, just for one more stamp!

Metamorphose has a points system, though you must be a registered member of the website in order to accumulate points. Juliette and Justine also has a points system, though the translation is a bit difficult for me to understand - I believe you get a discount when you rack up enough points though. More physical Brand shops may offer point systems, but as far as I know their online shops don't. Sometimes I think that may be a good thing. I might go crazy if BABY ever offered point incentives on their online shop...

"All your money are belong to us!"

Anyway, recently the 7-11 in Taiwan point incentive gift was a mystery Hello Kitty charm. Usually 7-11 offers plastic toys that light up or appeal to small children, but this time it was a metal charm! If you could accumulate 24 points, you could exchange for one charm. Each point sticker could be earned by spending NT$66 at a 7-11. This doesn't sound like much money (less than US$4) but the number is odd enough that in order to make NT$66 you either needed to buy some cheap, candy/useless objects in addition to food/coffee, or you had to go over the NT$66, yet it wouldn't be enough to get 2 stickers. Quite annoying. Even so, by collecting point stickers from friends and family, I managed to get 5 full cards

Unfortunately, the event was so popular that there was a charm shortage so I was only able to exchange for 3 mystery charms, and then get 2 pick-up tickets for later dates. The event ended on 4/29. I picked up one charm on 5/11. The second pick-up ticket needs to wait until 6/17. More proof that people will fall for this point-collecting scheme!!!

I'm sure some of you are curious about the giveaway, so I'll get to that part now! I'm giving away 2 metal Hello Kitty charms! I have no idea what they are because that's a part of the game. You don't know what you get until you get it (oh so clever). More details on how to enter after the jump!

Rules of the Game
1. If you win, you must take a photo of your charm and post it, OK? I'm curious!! There are about 30 variations on the Hello Kitty charm ;)
2. Tell me how you found my blog!
3. Which Brand would you like to offer buying incentives? Do you like the point system with free gifts, discounts, or something else entirely?

Personally, I'd like exclusive merchandise by BABY if they ever did a point card. Discounts are nice, of course, but with the amount of secondhand sales that go on, I think exclusive merchandise would feel more special to me!

Here are the photos of the 2 charms I have now:
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This is from the first batch where the color was applied on top of the metal, so the colors chipped a bit

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This one is from the second batch where the colors are more protected, so it will not be damaged!

This giveaway will close on May 31st at midnight (Taiwan time) Good luck!
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Daily Snap

Yesterday I went to a mini-meetup at a small cafe! I had to leave early to celebrate my Grandma's Lunar birthday, so I didn't get a chance to take photos of anybody :( There were only 4 of us, but it was fun!

This morning I went to a job interview for a kindergarten. I got the job, which starts in June and then July is summer break :P So during the month of June there may be less updates because I will be busy working 2 jobs and taking 1 class!

Anyway, enough talk, time for photos!

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Here you can see my makeup on half my face :P The sunlight washed out the other half T^T
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Sparkle Stitches~Simple Scrunchie

Flashback to the 90s! Remember scrunchies? Useful like a regular ponytail, but so much fancier~

Scrunchies are quite simple to make, but after a disaster involving me and my first scrunchie-making endeavor in 8th grade, I have been too intimidated to attempt a rematch. Until now.

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VICTORY

Brands occasionally make scrunchies (called chou-chou) but they are quite pricey! You can make your own scrunchie with some scrap fabric, spare lace, and leftover elastic! This project is also suitable for hand-sewing because it is small and quick.


Click on photos for a larger image
Materials:
Fabric
Elastic
Lace (optional)

Directions:

1) Cut out your pieces. The scrunchie fabric should be around 18" long at least, depending on how "scrunchy" you want it to be. The elastic is around 6-7". I make mine a bit bigger so I can wear it on my wrist too (just like in grade school!) The width is completely up to you! Don't forget your seam allowance
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2) If you want to add lace trim, sew them to one piece on the right (fashion) side facing towards the middle (they will be turned out later) along the stitching line.
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3) Pin the other piece on top right sides together. You will want to leave both short ends with a bit of seam allowance unsewn. In the photo, the red pins are the start and stop point.
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4) Stitch, turn, and press.
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5) Pin and stitch the short ends together on ONE layer only! I outlined the edges of both layers in the photo to show what I mean
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When it is stitched, you should still have an opening:
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6) This step is optional, but makes better ruffles, which I think is cute! Sew a channel in the middle of your tube wide enough for your elastic.
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7) Thread your elastic through the center channel.
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POINT! Elastic is easier to thread when you put a safety pin on the end!

8) Stitch the ends of the elastic together, and close the opening either by hand, or by turning in the raw edges and stitching on a machine.
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FIN!
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Questions or Comments? Let me know in the comments below!




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